Blogs from Magallanes, Chile, South America


South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 6th 2019

It is a sad fact of life that as I have got older I have developed a greater fear of heights. I stood a few steps on to the narrow suspension bridge as it swung above the steep ravine. The cable sides look no more than knee high from my warped perspective. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on. I smiled as best I could for Jane to take a photo. I knew it was irrational and I had to cross this bridge to get the glacier ‘mirador’ on the other side. I bent my knees to keep lower and focused on the bridge ahead. Jane waited patiently at the end. Half way across I started to hum and the demons in my brain seem to start to dissipate. I moved on to the old ... read more
Walking back from Grey refugio
Paine Grande camping
Base of the Torres

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 28th 2019

Lunes cerrado/closed Mondays! What the ….? We had just driven 250km on dirt roads in our little rentacar to find that the only king penguin colony outside of the Antarctic was closed on Mondays and it was Monday! Jane was turning crimson and I started to laugh (which probably didn’t help). The place was deserted. There was no one to plead with. We had arrived at the end of Bahia Inutil/Useless Bay (sic) a great gash in the Western side of Terra del Fuego. What tempered our frustration was the picturesque surroundings and the blue sky sliced by waves of high cloud. In the distance the snow-capped mountains of the Darwin range were visible behind the closer peaks of Dawson island. The Magellan Straits, apparently up to a kilometre deep at this point, spread ... read more
rusting hulk on the shore of the Magellan Straits
Lava cliffs at Pali Aike
the elegant guanaco

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 28th 2019

Day 6&7, 26 & 27 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Carlos III Island - Aguila Bay: We began the dry, slightly overcast morning touring the Kaweskar National Park, on the island of Santa Ines, which has a beautiful fjord called Helado Sound. Whilst in the zodiacs, in its background we appreciated the imposing Sarmiento and Helado Glaciers We went on shore at the foot of the Heladoo Glacier to get some close-up photos and so that the photographers could use their tripods to catch the dept of the ice caves we were gazing upon. It was beautiful. Having the time to and look at all the shapes and patterns in the glacier was beautiful and very special. For morning tea on the shore, we were offered whisky or chocolate milk, another wonderful touch. On the ... read more
Tom & Pierre at Aguila Bay - Helado Glacier
Aguila Bay - Helado GlacierJPG  (2)
Guides Francesco and Luis at Carrera Bay (53)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 25th 2019

Day 5, 25 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound: We woke up anchored in the Barbara Channel, and after breakfast we sailed to the Shag Passage, in search of Humpback Whales. This is an area where they are feeding amongst birds and sea lions. What a day we had whale watching. All morning we spotted whales everywhere. Francesco, our main guide had worked with a researched over the past 10 years, had identified, numbered (by the whales’ flutes) and tracked their travels over these years. Every time we saw a flute, Francesco yelled their identification number. He had a book with all their photos and numbers of the whale’s tails. There was a mother with a new calf, so it hadn’t been numbered. Whales calve every 2nd year. There was also ... read more
Albatros in Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (2)
Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (10)
Whale #93 in Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (1)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 24th 2019

Day 4, 24 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Gabriel Channel - Caleta Dighton: Early in the morning we went out in the zodiacs to visit the Tucker Islands, the place of Magellanic Penguins, Skuas, Cormorants on the rocks and Imperial Cormorants, non flying Quetru ducks (Magellanic flightless steamer duck) and Kelp geese, among other birds, in addition we will observe One Hair Sea lions that use their rocks to rest. The Quetru ducks were difficult to photograph because they were so quick, zipping along the water. There were 2 small islands that acted as resting places for the sealions. They were very inquisitive of us and jumped off the rocks to see what we were. There were a number of pregnant sealions as well. It was good to observe the Magellanic Penguins because we had ... read more
Andean Condor (7)
Magallenic Penguins Tucker Island (3)
Dark-bellied Cinclodes

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 23rd 2019

Day 3: 23 February Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Brookes Fjord – We woke to the most magnificent morning with clear, crisp air, with the sun shining. Once I was showered and properly awake, we rugged up before breakfast and clicked madly with the camera. The reflection of the four glaciers was magical. The ripples made by the ship reflected the sun. It was beautiful. We just stood and took it all in. Finlandia Fjord: In the morning we toured the wonderful Finland and West Finland fjord and Glacier, in an environment of forests and waterfalls, with large ice on the beach. I walked along the foot of the glacier, making sure I didn’t get too close as some of the columns of ice looked very unstable. The staff served whisky or hot chocolate and ... read more
Brooks Fjord
Magnificent morning in Brooks Fjord
Brooks Fjord

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 22nd 2019

Day 2, 22 February Jackson Bay - Parry Bay: In the morning we divided into 2 groups to visit the Black Eyebrow Albatross colony on a small islet and an Elephant Seal colony in Jackson Bay (alternating groups to enjoy both places). Our group visited 2 beaches to view the Elephant seals hoping we would see more mature seals compared to in the Antarctica when we only saw juvenile Elephant seals as the mature ones were out in the ocean feeding for 6-8 weeks before they come to shore to mate. The juvenile ones were going through their ‘catastrophic moulting’ stage. On the first beach we only saw a few Elephant seals but on the second beach the other side of the fjord, there 29 seals lined up along the beach. The oldest one was probably ... read more
Caleta Maria Almarantazgo Fjord (3)
Loepard Seal (14)
c HMS Forrest (2)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 21st 2019

Wednesday 20-28 February 2019 – Southern Patagonia We joined the FITZ ROY EXPEDITION Almirantazgo sound and Strait of Magellan tour with Patagonia Photo Safaris company for 7 days on the M/V FORREST This was a tour that I found on line which included several of the Patagonia fjords which would complement our land-based adventures we had from Punta Arenas before the Antarctic cruise. As an introduction, in Punta Arenas, we went to dinner with our new group. Everywhere in Punta Arenas was not far, so we walked to the restaurant. We had a pork dish, pisco sour or a calaphante sour and walked back to Plaza Hotel briskly as the wind was very nippy. Our new group consisted of 4 Aussies from Canberra, 2 Swiz, 1 French lady now living in Brazil, and 6 ... read more
a.1 maps (4)_LI
d Cape San Isidro lighthouse (4)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 31st 2019

Thursday 31 January What a day we had today! We spent from 4.30am (waking) to 9.30pm on a tour to Torres del Paine, a beautiful National Park in southern Patagonia which encompasses mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales where we stopped for morning coffee and 312 km north of Punta Arenas where our guide picked us up. Throughout the day we drove over 800kms stopping at many view pints. The scenery was spectacular, so I hope you enjoy the photos. There were 10 other tourists with us, and we were the only ones who didn’t speak Spanish. However, our guide who was born in Punta Arenas spoke very good English. We certainly needed our duck-down coats even though the sun was shining. At ... read more
Torres Del Paine National Park (251)
Torres d'Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino
Torres Del Paine National Park (249)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas January 28th 2019

Punta Arenas, Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica and Southern Patagonia 28 January to 2 March 2019 Tuesday 28 January to 2 February 2019 In an excited state at 5.00am we caught an Uber to the airport to catch the 8.15am Qantas/LAN flight to Punta Arenas via Auckland and Santiago. There is no quick and easy way to get to the southern tip of Chile. We had 3 hours wait in Auckland and 1 ½ hours in Santiago. After lots of movies and a few hours sleep, we arrived safely at the Punta Arena Airport at around 7.00pm. This is 29kms out of town, so we caught a taxi and arrived at the Plaza Hotel which was just next to the Plaza de Armas. Dropping our bags and after a quick shower, we walked towards the coast (3 ... read more
Map of Southern Patagonia
Punta Arenas - Chile serves great coffee
Port Area seen from La Cruz Hill Viewpoint Munta Arenas

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